This ice cream, based on Priscilla Feral's Vanilla Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from The Best of Vegan Cooking, is simply delicious. I made a few small changes to the recipe, but the technique remains the same - soy creamer is sweetened with agave nectar, flavored, thickened with cornstarch, and enriched with coconut milk. If you haven't tried vegan ice cream, or if you have only tasted the commercially prepared stuff, this luscious frozen treat will make a believer out of you.
I served this ice cream at this past Saturday's vegan dinner fundraiser for Community Green, with a warm apple crisp (recipe to follow). Although I love to introduce vegan and vegetarian cuisine to those who have never tried it before, cooking for a group of environmentalists, animal rights activists, and other like-minded people energizes and inspires me. Sometimes it's fun to skip the "why" of fabulous vegan cuisine, and and just teach delicious food and advanced techniques to people who don't need to be convinced. Thanks to all who came to eat and learn, and for those who didn't, try the recipes at home and join us next time!
You will need an ice cream maker. I used a Cuisinart, which does a fine job, but any kind will do - just make sure your mixture is well-chilled before you begin churning to ensure a smooth and creamy consistency.
2 cups French Vanilla soy creamer
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup organic candied ginger bits
In a medium sauce pan, heat soy creamer and salt over medium-high heat. Cut vanilla bean in half and scrape the pulp into the pan as well. Reserve vanilla bean pod for another use. Whisk mixture frequently, and bring to a boil.
Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water; whisk until smooth.
Add cornstarch mixture and agave nectar to sauce pan and reduce heat to medium. Whisk constantly until slightly thickened, about four minutes. Stir in coconut milk.
Make an ice bath: Fill a large bowl with ice and a little cold water. Transfer ice cream mixture to a slightly smaller bowl. Set bowl in the ice bath to cool the mixture rapidly, stirring frequently. When it has cooled, transfer ice cream bowl to refrigerator and chill until very cold, about another hour.
Process in an ice cream machine (mine took about 25 minutes), adding ginger chips during the last five minutes of churning. Transfer to a container and freeze.